Both sides who came away from their opening game without much to show meet in front of the live Sky Sports cameras on Saturday lunchtime and Aaron Ashley is here to preview the Championship clash…
Coventry City defeated Middlesbrough in the Championship play-off semi-final last season and the Sky Blues will be determined to frank that form in front of the Sky cameras at the Coventry Building Society Arena in Saturday’s 12:30 kick-off.
Both City and Boro were beaten on the opening weekend of the season – Mark Robins’ men suffered a 2-1 defeat at title favourites Leicester City, while Michael Carrick’s side limped to a 1-0 loss at home to Millwall.
However, neither performed too poorly in their respective defeats and they will still have high hopes of playing a prominent role in the Championship this season.
Coventry’s influential midfielder Gustavo Hamer is set to leave to join Sheffield United, so he will miss out along with injured trio Jamie Allen, Callum O’Hare and Fabio Tavares.
For Boro, Matt Clarke, Anfernee Dijksteel and Tom Smith are sidelined through injury and their leading scorer from last season, Chuba Akpom, is lacking match sharpness having missed their opening two assignments.
Coventry to win @ 11/8
There has been plenty of change over the summer for last season’s Championship play-off finalists Coventry, who cashed in on star striker Viktor Gyokeres and are about to do the same with midfield maestro Hamer.
However, to their credit, they have reinvested all of the fee they received from Sporting Lisbon for Gyokeres, which suggests they are keen to take another step forward.
It wasn’t to be for the Sky Blues in their opening game at Leicester, but they were far from disgraced in that 2-1 loss at the King Power Stadium, where they drew the shot count 20 each and had led 1-0 until the 77th minute.
In fact, Coventry had a number of chances to put that match to bed before Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall turned the game on its head with a brilliant brace.
But there were plenty of positives to take from that effort and they look good value to respond with a home win over Boro.
Including the play-offs, these two teams met four times last season and Coventry were unbeaten, recording two 1-0 wins either side of a pair of draws.
Coventry were also excellent at home, where they lost only five of their 23 games, and this looks a good time to be facing Boro, especially with leading light Akpom going to struggle to have an impact.
Carrick has reported that Middlesbrough’s 28-goal forward from last season still has a bit to do to be fully fit, suggesting a place on the bench would be most likely.
That is not what Boro supporters will want to hear on the back of last weekend’s 1-0 defeat at home to Millwall, where they managed only two shots on target.
Boro failed to win any of their final five away games last season and they may be found wanting at this new-look Coventry side.
Ellis Simms to score anytime @ 15/8
Simms has big boots to fill having been signed to replace Gyokeres and it could take time for him to live up to his £8million price tag.
But the 22-year-old proved himself at this level while on loan at Sunderland last season, netting seven goals in 17 Championship appearances, and his physicality is going to be a huge asset for Coventry as the season progresses.
In his full debut against Leicester, Simms had four shots, one on target and caused plenty of problems with his pace and power.
The former Everton man should be backed to come good and he may represent value to get on the scoresheet at 15/8.